ADB President Kuroda Issues Warning; Costly Oil May Limit Asian Growth

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Byline: LOUIS MEIXLER

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) The head of the Asian Development Bank warned Friday that although regional growth rates are at their strongest since the 1997-98 financial crisis, high oil prices could limit growth and significant income disparities still existed within the region.

Haruhiko Kurodas remarks came at the close of a three-day conference of the bank that was dominated by concerns over high oil prices, Chinas undervalued yuan which US officials say makes Chinese exports artificially cheap and the need for closer cooperation to avoid crises.

Kuroda said Asian growth during the past year was the highest since the economic crisis, but added that the greatest challenge in the short term would be oil prices. If high oil prices persist for the next few years "then that would certainly affect the growth prospects of many countries in the region."

He added in his closing remarks that the economic successes were "not uniform, and significant disparities in economic and social development persist within countries and across the region."

Delegates from the ADBs 63 member countries also discussed the need for the pooling of resources to avoid financial shocks.

"We want to send a strong message that we are determined not to see a recurrence of the Asian financial crisis," Japanese Finance Minister Sadukazu Tanigaki said Thursday.

"We have an ample amount of funds and savings available in Asia, and we would like to see these funds recycled within the region, for the region," he said. …